The Post Office was also a shop which opened late so nocturnal communications pertaining to illicit relationships could sometimes be conducted, albeit in whispered tones. (Or so I’m told.)
Lacken eventually got a Phone-Box and conversations could be carried out in a stentorian voice without fear of “ear-wigging.” Some “coins” used were not Legal Tender (or even legal.) Washers of a certain diameter and “push-outs” from galvanised junction-boxes, used by electricians, would suffice. (Or so I’m told.)
By “tapping out” the numbers on the top of the cradle (1,9 and 0 were free) one could get through to any number. (Or so I’m told.)
Another favourite trick was to block the return-chute with a piece of rolled up twine and to return for the proceeds when a number of people had pressed “Button B” without getting any refund. (Or so I’m told.)
At times in rural Ireland the Phone-box was often utilised for erotic pelvic activity while parallel with the perpendicular. (Or so I’m told.)
When a not-too-well-liked person would be retiring it would be said, “They’re holding his retirement do in a phone-box”.
On one occasion, a female, from a neighbouring parish, who was presumed to have contracted a “social disease” used the phone and civic-minded local woman immersed it (the phone, not the female caller) in a bucket of Jeye’s Fluid. This caused a malfunction which the P&T engineer couldn’t find a cause for.
The Post Office was moved to a private residence in 1970 and eventually thanks to the powers in Dublin it eventually “fell to progress.” Like many another village in Ireland Lacken was now without a Post Office.
E’en now the devastation is begun,
And half the business of destruction done;
Lacken Schoolhouse was built by Lady Smith of Baltyboys House in the eighteen eighties. In the initial application to the Commission of National Education for aid towards Lacken School, as we know it, on 12th June 1868, it was stated, “Mrs. Elizabeth Smith, widow, owner of the property at Lacken, purchased by her in the Landed Estate court, will give a lease for sixty years, and vest the site in the Commissioner of National Education, attendance of children expected between sixty and seventy at present area school room considered sufficient.”
On 16th November 1916 Lacken School was “sold” to the people of Lacken and the precincts thereof, for the nominal purchase price of £5, by Elizabeth Graydon Stannus, granddaughter of Mrs. Smith and mother of Edris Stannus who was destined to become the world-famous Dame Ninette de Valois.
A new school was built in 2010 and the old schoolhouse, no longer houses the moulding of the minds of the young and is now a community centre but,
And locked the classroom door.
(Philip Larkin.) enter>
In October 2012 Tommy and Maureen Richardson turned the key in the door of their shop for the last time.
This was the shop where, in the early days of Telefis Eireann we would assemble at night to watch The Virginian, Batt Masterson and The Avengers.
shop, then go
We can’t stand in the way of progress and tomorrow is just as important as today. But when the fibre of a community is rent asunder what is to be done?
The members of the Lacken Community Development Association are doing their best to ensure that Lacken doesn’t become a deserted village.
They need all the help they can get.
Billy Keane's latest novel is a must-read. I won't say any more about it; Google it. Billy is a columnist with the Irish Independent. The son of John B. Keane, he runs the world-famous John B. Keane’s pub in Listowel in his native County Kerry. His previous books include the novel The Last of the Heroes and Rucks, Mauls and Gaelic Football, which he co-wrote with Moss Keane.
Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
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